Thought For the Day

Since you’ve been gone, I’ve not given up overthinking.

Did you think I might? You should know me better by now.

I’m not a complete sucker for the inspirational quotes that have flooded the world since the advent of the internet. My interest in them is passing, and only occasionally am I sufficiently struck by the amateur philosophy that clutters my various news feeds, that I am moved to ‘share’ it.

There are those who seem to spend their whole online existence posting endless quotable quotes, meaningful memes and inspirational inserts, that you might wonder whether they are human, or one of those bots that websites try to catch out with random captchas to make sure they are actually a person. I have to admit, it can be a little tiresome. Not to mention surreal. Can you imagine having a coffee with a friend and instead of conversation, have them recite a series of unrelated passages from random sources? Mad.

Yet even as I say that, I am mentally chastising myself. After all, much, if not all, of what we enjoy in popular culture is trying to deliver a message. We don’t hesitate to recommend a book we have enjoyed. And lyrics to our favourite songs inspire us to tell all who will listen what they mean to us. Indeed, I remember countless conversations we had that literally revolved – and evolved – around songs and how they spoke to our innermost thoughts and feelings. So to dismiss these sound bites so readily smacks a little of snobbery. Bottom line, if it means something to someone, why shouldn’t they spread the love?

Recently, I am looking for meaning in everything. But trying to fill a huge void that refuses to be anything other than empty is no mean feat. And in the words of Mick Jagger, I can’t get no satisfaction. So maybe I can be forgiven for being more than usually drawn to the quotes that tug on my emotions as they scroll past my eyes.

The one above struck a chord with me today. If you find someone who will be there through the worst of times, as well as the good – that is something precious and should not be quickly discarded. And if they must be discarded, remember that those who truly care will still be there, where you left them, whenever they are needed. Of course, everyone has the choice to walk away. But choosing to care, despite the circumstances, is a rare thing indeed.

I choose to care.

Stay gold.

Do You Remember?

Why do we mark anniversaries of events? And why do they often spark an emotional response? Years ago, did we have time or energy to remember, to the day, what happened x number of years previously? Or is it a modern construct, borne out of an educated society with too much time on its hands? Maybe it’s the result of consumerist marketplace that never misses out on an opportunity to exploit every area of our lives? Indeed, our obsession with marking occasions could actually be the result of a sinister, but also incredibly successful, advertising campaign by Hallmark cards.(Other card manufacturers are available…)

When you go into certain shops, their walls and aisles are lined with cards for all occasions – from birthdays to condolences, and everything in between. There is literally a card for every event you could possibly imagine. And for those who find the cards on offer don’t say what they are thinking, there’s always the blank card, that you can make your very own. The calendar year is littered with ‘special days’ that shops of all shapes and sizes are keen to promote, and if only you would buy x, y and z from them, you will have the best day of your life. Go on. Buy it. Because you’re worth it…

Of course, since the dawn of time, one way or another, memorable events have been recorded. History books are full of names, dates and details of all the important events that have shaped our world. From cave paintings, to hieroglyphics, to stories passed down verbally through the generations, people have found ways of remembering and sharing the news of their day. It’s always been important to us that things should not be forgotten.

However, I am not speaking here about a collective, public history, but rather about more personal events. Ones that won’t crop up in the history books and for the most part, will only be interesting to a wider audience if we happen to be famous and have our lives memorialised in newspapers, magazines and books. Birthdays. Weddings. Baptisms. Passing exams. Getting your first job. Moving into your first house. The first time hearing the music of your favourite band. Meeting that person who will become your best friend. The list of those personal, life changing experiences, goes on and on.

There are some dates that are more worth remembering than others. Someone I know, after years of battling with alcohol, gave up drinking on a certain date quite a number of years ago. I find this a huge milestone to celebrate. Not only in terms of the achievement, which should never be underestimated, of beating an addiction, but also that it really is like a second birthday. Because if he had carried on drinking, he very probably wouldn’t be alive today.

Some of us are better at remembering past dates than others. My husband is hard pressed to remember how old he is, much less the birthdays of our children. I, on the other hand, seem to have the sort of brain that doesn’t forget anything. It’s so crammed full of significant dates, it’s a wonder my face doesn’t come with a pull off sheet to indicate the different months of the year. I am a walking calendar. I blame Julius and Gregory.

But I have come to realise that keeping tabs on the past is not always a good thing. Yes, I remember the happy times, and I have the chance to dedicate time to making upcoming occasions special. But I also remember difficult times. There are days in the year that have a way of approaching me and kicking me in the gut. They aren’t always days when something bad happened, either. Some of them are days when something amazing happened, but for various reasons, those memories are bitter sweet and are the catalyst for a myriad of emotions to take hold. Today is one of those days.

But why? Why do we remember and keep an annual vigil over our life events? After all, not remembering them doesn’t mean they didn’t happen, wipe the record or re-write history. And life will go on regardless.

Perhaps it’s something to do with that old adage that remembering history will help us to not repeat the mistakes of the past? Although I’m really not sure that works. Humans are fickle. And we will do what we will do, often with little regard for knowing what the outcome will be. Perhaps it’s all just a matter of the heart? After all, simply remembering a date is down to the mind. What we make of it is definitely heartfelt. I for one am more than prepared to step up and confess that my heart does rule my head. And that inevitably colours my attachment to what is essentially, just another day of the year.

Are you remembering something, or someone, today? And if so – why?

The Calling Card

Who I am and what I’m worth
Came calling by today
Reminding me to dim my lights
And keep my dreams at bay
The mirror that they held in place
Showed just how much you care
And how my foolish secret hopes
Are so empty and unfair

I only have myself to blame
For letting my thoughts stray
The truth was always plain to see
And never far away
But this still twists my heart in knots
And pains my very core
Yet I would do it all again
If you wanted me once more

This is the sad pathetic fact
Of what I feel for you
You only have to ask of me
And anything I’d do
But knowing you won’t need to call
Or seek my company
Leaves me lost and inside-out
And to never more be free

Would You Turn Back Time?

Since you’ve been gone, my baby turned 18.

18! How is that possible?

I have come to terms with my three older children becoming adults. But I have a problem with my youngest no longer being a ‘child’. Oh yes, I know it’s inevitable. And of course, on one level I can celebrate the milestone, and am definitely grateful to have had the pleasure of being her mother for another year. But I’m not ready. I’ll never be ready.

My father used to say that it didn’t matter how old I got to be, I would always be his baby. He’s not here anymore – so I am no one’s baby. Adulthood gobbled me up years ago. It has also spat me out on more than one inelegant occasion, and I’m sure it will again. But I don’t have a problem with getting older, per se. More that I lament the lost opportunity of youth.

TJ turning 18 has made me wonder whether I would want to go back and be young again. To turn back time and relive my youth. And if I did, what would I do differently?

Of course, there are things I would not change. I would not be without my four wonderful children, for example. And I have had many amazing experiences that I would feel much the less for not having embraced.

But I think my overwhelming answer is yes. Yes, I would go back. Yes I would change some things. Well. Lots of things. I would make sure to appreciate having it all ahead of me. To make a positive mark on the blank page. To not be afraid to go for what I want. To be in the right place at the right time. To not lose courage and definitely not to settle. And to win. I’d be a winner. I’ve spent too long, and had too much heartbreak because of being a loser.

What about you? Would you turn back time? Tell me – what would you do differently?

Stay gold.

It’s Not Just

It’s not just that you’re gone
So completely withdrawn
Turned off and moved on

It’s not just that it’s done
That its course has been run
And my presence you shun

It’s not just that this hole
Almost swallows me whole
Pain consuming my soul

It’s not just that I’ve died
And want only to hide
In the tears I have cried

All these things and much more
Rendered lost and unsure
I battle to endure

The Missing Piece

She thought that it was finished,
She thought it was complete,
But the piece that lay within her reach,
That was brand new,
Unknown,
A breech
Of all she had imagined true,
Was telling her of something new

She was surprised to find it,
She was amazed it fit,
But the puzzle changed before her eyes,
It altered all,
Transformed,
Despised
Those things she had imagined true,
And told her there was something new.

She knew she could not keep it,
She knew it was not hers,
But the absent piece she hadn’t missed,
Until he came,
Unsought,
Gifted
A glimpse of something pure and true,
And left her ever changed and new.

Suck it Up and Keep Moving

Since you’ve been gone, there have been some hard lessons to learn.

And one thing I have realised, is that the old adage about time healing wounds is a complete crock of crap. The more time that passes, the more that it hurts. Maybe it’s just me? I’ve always been out of step with the rest of society. So perhaps I’m the exception who proves the rule? Perhaps I live in some kind of parallel universe where the mirror image is true? Whatever. All I know is that each day gets harder, not easier.

There are so many things I want to tell you. So many things left to say. So many adventures left to share. Except no. Not any more. I’ve been cut adrift and the waters are growing increasingly choppy. It’s hard, lonely and scary out here.

Ironically, if I could talk to you, I know you would understand exactly what I am saying. Because you get me. Like no one else ever did. And no one else ever will.

Are you hurting too? It’s not that I want you to hurt – far from it. But I can’t bear that it’s only me who is in such great pain. Are you unhappy too? It’s not that I want you to be miserable – not at all. But it tortures me that this misery is all one sided. And I will never know those answers, will I. Which is part of what keeps me paralysed in this despair.

To be honest, I’m struggling to suck it up. And I haven’t got to the keep moving forward part. I don’t actually know how to do it. But I know I have to try.

I guess, as Merle Haggard sang:
‘I’ve got to keep goin’
Traveling down this lonesome road
And I’ll be rollin’ with the flow
Goin’ where the lonely go.’

Stay gold.